Wednesday, April 24, 2019

MIA Girls Soccer Team Soars in Standings

Opens Season’s Second Half with 7 and 1 Record

Goalie Kirra Polley makes a save. Photos by Nancy Chamberlin

Goalie Kirra Polley makes a save. Photos by Nancy Chamberlin

With a tremendous show of grit, hustle and finesse, the Lady Rays have established themselves as one of the best teams in their division. With a record of 10-4-1, they are now listed at number three, behind only Canterbury 15-0-0, and Evangelical Christian (ECS) 14-1-0. They have given these well coached clubs all they could handle in close losses. No one will want to draw the Rays in the district playoffs beginning on January 22. Since December 7, 2017, the Rays have gone 8-1, with only a white knuckle loss (2-3) to ECS at home on January 8, 2018. During that period the Rays have played their best soccer.

The loss to ECS (final score was 2-3), the only blemish so far in the second half, was particularly galling. Trailing by only one goal after the first half, the Rays rallied in the second, trading goals with ECS only to fall short at the end. Ellie Ball scored both goals for the Rays, with assists from Savannah Heimerl. In another outstanding game against relentless attacks, the Ray’s goalkeeper, Kirra Polley, blocked a penalty shot from inside the box with five minutes remaining. “This game will give [ECS] something to think about [in the district playoffs],” Coach Watt told the team after the game.

MIA’s Anna Chamberlin in the game against Evangelical Christian School.

MIA’s Anna Chamberlin in the game against Evangelical Christian School.

The Rays most notable win in the season’s second half came in an away game, First Baptist Academy (FBA), (3-2 Rays) January 11. FBA was still smarting from a previous shut out (2-0) at Winterberry Park on December 14. FBA scored first in the opening minutes. Ellie Ball answered with a tying goal and then FBA scored again. Olivia Watt tied it up again on a breakaway in the face of FBA’s charging goalkeeper. With four minutes to go, the score remained tied at 2-2. It was then that Hailey Cartwright dribbled past three defenders who were roughing her up, trying to get the ball away from her. A penalty was called, with Savannah Heimerl scoring on a free kick from 60 feet out. It went in at the top of the net, just over the goalkeepers hands. “It was almost surreal,” said defenseman Danya Zarate, “It was like being in a movie, where the underdogs score in the last minute.” Zarate would, if asked, award a game ball to Hailey Cartwright. “Hailey played an amazing game, never giving up and constantly fighting for the ball [against much larger opponents].”

MIA Rays’ Hailey Cartwright

MIA Rays’ Hailey Cartwright

Teagan Havemeier closes in on the ball.

Teagan Havemeier closes in on the ball.

Two games now remain on the regular season schedule, before District playoffs begin on January 22. Both are at Winterberry Park – Oasis High School (from Cape Coral) on January 18, and ECS on January 19.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *